The sight of Scotland’s grassroots cricketers getting back into the nets in recent days having missed such a large chunk of the summer due to lockdown has brought a smile to all of our faces.
Another great positive of recent weeks has been the crowdfunding efforts of the country’s newest cricket club, Dunblane.
Dunblane Cricket Club aims to give playing opportunities to boys and girls under the age of 17, will welcome all abilities and wants to foster the growth and development of the sport in the town while providing the opportunity for all players to reach their potential.
And, by raising £5,475 in their ‘Pitch in for a Pitch’ crowdfunder, Scotland’s youngest club can now look at setting up firm roots and, all being well, installing an artificial pitch in the not too distant future.
There was a previous club in Dunblane which was set-up in 1866, but between then and the present day the sport had been lost to the picturesque central belt town at some stage – until now.
Alan Robertson from the club takes up the exciting story.
“Last year cricket coach Tony Phillips, who does lots of coaching in the central belt, began going into the local schools and taking some cricket taster sessions,” Robertson, whose nine-year-old son Magnus plays, explained.
“The ones at Dunblane Primary School were very well received so the school decided to take a team to some cricket festivals in the Forth Valley area.
“Our youngsters were all new to playing matches and were a wee bit nervous at first, but they did really well and played in events held at Stirling County, Callander, Stenhousemuir, Westquarter and the like.
“With so much keenness being shown by the youngsters to continue their cricket after that we thought about what we could do next.
“As well as being keen to play the sport they were also keen to do so with their close friends, so rather than advise them all to go and join other clubs in the surrounding area we decided to form our own club.
“It was a group of parents who got together and did that and earlier in 2020 we had started indoor practises at Dunblane High School before the lockdown came.”
The people behind the club then set-up a three year plan to take things forward with two of the things highest on the agenda to get a pitch in place and also get parity between the number of boys and girls involved.
“Just after Easter we were going to start a crowdfund to begin to get funds together for a pitch, but we delayed it for a while given the climate at the time,” Robertson continued.
“We decided to go for it a few weeks ago and we set-up the crowdfunding page at the beginning of June and it closed on Sunday there [July 5].
“During the period we had some messages of support from big names like former England batsmen David Gower and Mark Butcher and we are delighted with the amount of money raised and the passion for this community-based project that is being shown in the town and beyond.”
There are two venues in Dunblane that have been proposed to install a cricket pitch, Laighills Park or Dunblane High School playing fields – either would be ideal – and the next step for Robertson and the others involved is to meet with the appropriate parties and take things forward.
“We are really excited for the future of cricket in Dunblane and getting as many youngsters as possible playing the game,” Robertson concluded.
Follow Dunblane Cricket Club’s amazing journey on Twitter @DunblaneCricket.